Tag: Criminal Justice

Can the White People of Small-Town America Get Behind the Movement for Black Lives?

Most people seemed to support him. Drivers-by honked their horns and waved. A teacher who saw his invitation even showed up and stood with him for a while. But his mother told me that, after I had left, a man slowed down and started yelling at them. He said that this sort of protest was […]

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Stop Unnecessary Arrests to Slow Coronavirus Spread

Jails around the country have become a major breeding ground for the coronavirus. And as authorities arrest, book and release thousands of people charged with low-level offenses each day, they are unwittingly unleashing the virus on the outside world. My colleague Daniel Chen and I found this dynamic at work as people were processed in […]

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Spurred by the 2019 Death of Layleen Polanco, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Moves to End Solitary Confinement in City Jails

Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images) A year after trans Afro-Latina Layleen Xtravaganza Polanco died while imprisoned in solitary confinement at Rikers Island, New York City Bill de Blasio has vowed to end the practice “once and for all.” Advertisement The mayor made the announcement during his Monday briefing, invoking Polanco’s name as well as that […]

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A DNA Mix-Up Involving a Washing Machine Kept a Man in Jail for 3 Years

As washing machines go, the one that contributed to Roy Verret’s capital murder charge was pretty average. White, Whirlpool, reliable. When detectives investigating a murder in Jeanerette, La., swabbed a dark spot on the lid in January 2017, he thought they were wasting their time. “I wasn’t stressing,” Mr. Verret said in an interview. “I […]

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The People Running Campaigns Don’t Look Like Me

I have worked in politics for over 30 years. For most of those years, there have rarely been black or brown faces at the top level of most campaigns I’ve worked on. I am often the lone voice telling a room full of campaign professionals what it’s like to be pulled over by the police […]

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Chrystul Kizer, Held in Jail for 2 Years After Killing Her Alleged Abuser, Finally Set Free Thanks to Community Bond Fund

Photo: Sarah L. Voisin (The Washington Post via Getty Images) Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old accused of killing her alleged sex trafficker in 2018, was able to step outside Kenosha County Detention Facility in Wisconsin for the first time in two years on Monday. Saddled with an oppressively high bond—originally set at $1 million, then bumped […]

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N.Y.’s Legal Limbo: Pandemic Creates Backlog of 39,200 Criminal Cases

The coronavirus outbreak is putting extraordinary stress on New York City’s judicial system, forcing lengthy delays in criminal proceedings and raising growing concerns about the rights of defendants. Since February, the backlog of pending cases in the city’s criminal courts has risen by nearly a third — to 39,200. Hundreds of jury trials in the […]

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Turn Rikers Island Into a Solar Farm

The past and present of Rikers Island can tell you a lot about the United States. Richard Riker—the owner of the island that had been in his slaveowning Dutch-German family since the 1660s—was an integral part of a kidnapping ring for selling Black people in the North back to slavery in the South under the […]

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Turn Rikers Island Into a Solar Farm

The past and present of Rikers Island can tell you a lot about the United States. Richard Riker—the owner of the island that had been in his slaveowning Dutch-German family since the 1660s—was an integral part of a kidnapping ring for selling Black people in the North back to slavery in the South under the […]

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Exonerated 5 Member Yusef Salaam Weighs in on Recent Black Lives Matter Protests: ‘This Is Courageous Living’

Photo: Yusef Salaam Yusef Salaam remembers the night his mother was finally allowed to intervene in his interrogation session. Salaam was 15, apprehended by the NYPD along with four of his friends for a crime he had not committed: assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park. Advertisement She immediately told him to stop […]

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Iowa Governor Will Restore Voting Rights to Paroled Felons

Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa said Tuesday that she would issue an executive order to restore voting rights to paroled felons, ending Iowa’s distinction as the last state in the country to strip all former felons of voting rights for life. As protests over police violence erupted across Iowa in recent weeks, as they have […]

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After Rift Over Protests, N.Y.P.D. Pulls Out of Prosecutors’ Offices

A few hours after the Manhattan district attorney announced he would not prosecute some of the protesters who had been arrested during demonstrations against police brutality, the Police Department sent him a message: All the officers assigned to his office would be pulled off the job to help with crowd control. The district attorneys in […]

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Tasers: Are These Police Tools Effective and Are They Dangerous?

The fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who was found asleep in a car in a drive-through at a Wendy’s on Friday night in Atlanta, has reignited the debate over Tasers. Mr. Brooks, 27, had fled from the police after failing a sobriety test, and grabbed a Taser from an officer during […]

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Cory Booker on Newark Pride, Black Lives Matter and ‘This Distraught Present’

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey has long made criminal justice core to his politics, a focus that began during his days at Stanford, continued through his two terms as mayor of Newark and eventually formed the backbone of his presidential campaign. Now, amid a groundswell of protests against racism and police brutality, Mr. Booker, […]

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Belly of the Beast Documentary Aims to Uncover Injustices Faced by Incarcerated Women

‘Belly of the Beast’ is a documentary focusing on raising awareness of the injustices faced by incarcerated women. It’s set to premiere at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival on Thursday.Image: ANUCHA PONGPATIMETH (Shutterstock) Belly of the Beast, a powerful documentary film about the human rights abuses experienced by women at the hands of the […]

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‘Cops,’ Long-Running Reality Show That Glorified Police, Is Canceled

“Cops” is no longer. The Paramount Network confirmed on Tuesday that it had removed the reality show from its schedule, as protests nationwide call for police reform. Late last month, the network had temporarily cut the show from its schedule. “‘Cops’ is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future […]

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The Rush to Redefine “Defund the Police”

Before Minneapolis protesters briefly occupied and then set fire to a police station, activists’ calls to defund the police were considered—including by some more institutionally-minded criminal justice reformers—to be an impossibly radical demand. That was barely two weeks ago. Since, as those local protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd then spread […]

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America, This Is Your Chance

Our democracy hangs in the balance. This is not an overstatement. As protests, riots, and police violence roiled the nation last week, the president vowed to send the military to quell persistent rebellions and looting, whether governors wanted a military occupation or not. John Allen, a retired four-star Marine general, wrote that we may be […]

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Protest Medics on Being Targeted by the Police, in Their Own Words

“It felt like everyone was just asking to go home, but they started hitting us with tear gas.” Emma, 23, Pittsburgh: Some young white men had burned an empty cop car. But at that point in the protest, a lot of people were starting to go home. I don’t even know how many cop cars […]

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Don’t Bar Ex-Offenders From Coronavirus Aid Funds

Six weeks after the Paycheck Protection Program began pumping hundreds of billions of dollars in lifelines to businesses affected by shutdowns, one group of entrepreneurs remains frozen out of resources: those who have previous criminal history. The Small Business Administration’s decision to exclude these members of our community from the payroll loans has caused great […]

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Campaign Funds for Judges Warps Criminal Justice, Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Nearly 60 years ago, the Supreme Court decided the case of Clarence Gideon, a Florida drifter accused of breaking into a poolroom who was tried and convicted without a lawyer. In a unanimous ruling, Gideon v. Wainwright, the court transformed criminal justice in America, announcing that poor people accused of serious crimes were […]

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Yet Another Summer of Discontent in America

In 1992, George H.W. Bush was president, presiding over a Republican Party that had not yet divested itself of all decency and common sense. While Bush condemned the rioters in Nixonian law-and-order fashion, insisting that their actions were “not about civil rights” and that the authorities would use “whatever force necessary” to bring them to […]

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America’s Social Contract Is Broken

In 1992, George H.W. Bush was president, presiding over a Republican Party that had not yet divested itself of all decency and common sense. While Bush condemned the rioters in Nixonian law-and-order fashion, insisting that their actions were “not about civil rights” and that the authorities would use “whatever force necessary” to bring them to […]

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Sprawling Protest Movement Treads Line Between Justice Agenda and Chaos

MINNEAPOLIS — With the Third Police Precinct headquarters engulfed in flames, what felt like a cathartic release swept through the streets of Minneapolis’s South Side on Thursday night. Some people danced to Beyoncé, others passed out beer. Still others chanted: “No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!” The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis […]

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I Gave Birth While Incarcerated During a Pandemic

It got to the point where us pregnant females were denying our medical treatment. It was almost like a boycott. We came together as a unit and we discussed our fears. We only had each other. We had nobody else. We had no access to the news. We all came together and every time one […]

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Thomas Reppetto, Crime Watchdog and Historian, Is Dead at 88

Thomas Reppetto, a former Chicago police officer who became a respected historian of policing and the leader of a nonpartisan watchdog group that researches ways to reduce crime in New York City, died on Tuesday at his home in Mount Vernon, N.Y. He was 88. His wife, Christa Carnegie, said the cause was congestive heart […]

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Unjust Convictions Must Become a Justice Department Priority

In 2003, Greg Elking wrote a letter to his minister. Mr. Elking was the sole witness to a murder nine years before. On the strength of his eyewitness identification, jurors convicted a man named Lamar Johnson of the crime. But it wasn’t true, as Mr. Elking confessed in his anguished letter. “The reason I’m telling […]

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